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Just 19 companies sign up to keep kids out of 'peer' ads

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 26, 2011 | 3 min read

A mere 19 UK companies have signed a pledge accepting new guidelines that children aged 16 and under should not be employed to act as brand ambassadors or in peer-to-peer marketing campaigns.

Pepsi: They're on the list

This is the full list of company signatories as of today:

BT Retail, Dubit, CocaCola, EdComs, Ferrero, Johnson&Johnson, L’Oreal, Mastertronic, Microsoft, National Schools Partnership, Nintendo, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Sainsbury’s, Specsavers, TenNine, Unilever, Virgin Media,Vodafone, JazzyMedia.

A spokesman for the Advertising Association accepted that a lot of big names were NOT in there but added, "We're still pushing."

Mark Lund, chair of the Advertising Association's Children's Panel, presented the new guidelines to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this month. The full proposal suggests that young people under the age of 16 should not be employed, and directly or indirectly paid, to actively promote brands, products, goods, services, causes or ideas to their peers, associates or friends.

The guidance does not apply to the employment of children as actors or performers in advertisements.

Lund said: "Bailey recognised that the commercial world has much to offer children and families, but that we need to ensure we observe sensible guidelines in the way we interact with them. These measures will help industry do just that."

The Advertising Association guidance says, "young people under the age of 16 should not be employed and directly or indirectly paid or paid-in-kind to actively promote brands, products, goods, services, causes or ideas to their peers, associates or friends.”

The industry will also outline new actions to restrict the use of sexualised imagery in outdoor media – particularly near schools – and plans to provide better information to parents on digital marketing techniques.

UPDATE: The Advertising Association points out that nine trade associations have also written the pledge into their codes of practice and

another two are in the process of doing the same.

The nine are: the British Toy & Hobby Association; Direct Marketing Association; Internet Advertising Bureau; Institute of Promotional Marketing; Mobile Broadband Group; Market Research Society; Public Relations Consultants Association; The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment and the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association.

"The sum of the membership of these associations is in the hundreds, which means the pledge has further reaching consequences than your article implies," said an AA spokesman.

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